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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 June, 2005, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Police caution frog spawn seller
frog spawn
It is illegal to trade in frog spawn
A Tyneside woman has been cautioned by police for trying to sell frog spawn on an internet auction site.

The woman, who is from Gateshead, but has not been named, was using the eBay web site to sell the frog spawn.

Northumbria Police took action after receiving a tip-off from the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

A spokeswoman for eBay said the company had removed the item after being told the potential sale contravened the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Northumbria Police wildlife crime officer, PC Paul Henery, said: "People seem to think that you can sell anything simply because auction sites exist.

Natural heritage

"You can't trade in any kind of wildlife, and that includes frog spawn. You could give it away or put it in another pond but you must not sell or trade it, even if you hold it lawfully.

"Frog spawn might seem unimportant when you consider how much is around during the spring, but you can't separate out one type of wildlife from another if you want to preserve the country's natural heritage.

"Other items which are covered by the legislation include birds' egg or butterfly collections, even if they are many years old. You commit an offence as soon as you attempt to trade."

A spokeswoman for eBay said the Gateshead woman was in clear breach of the company's terms and conditions.

She said the organisation had about 1,000 customer service staff who were responsible for removing offensive and illegal items.

But she added: "Sometimes things do slip through the net."

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